A Family Madness

Thomas Keneally, Author
Thomas Keneally, Author Simon & Schuster $17.45 (336p) ISBN 978-0-671-61175-0
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Keneally, who won England's Booker Prize for Schindler's List, here offers an intricately constructed, labyrinthine tale that unfolds on three levels. A traditional third-person narration chronicles events taking place in Penrith, Australia, in the early 1980s. Terry Delaney, a professional rugby player who takes a part-time job as a security guard, meets Rudi Kabbel, an emigre who runs his own security business. Their lives intersect in various ways, especially after the married Terry becomes involved with Rudi's daughter. Rudi is an eccentric, deeply scarred personality as a result of his tragic past in war-torn Europe, which is recounted in trenchant chapters entitled ""Radislaw Kabbel's History of the Kabbeleski Family.'' A more informed and shocking perspective on the horrors of the war is found in excerpts from Rudi's father Stansislaw's journal. Along with Rudi's history, they set the stage for the present-day demonstration of what is indeed a family madnessa madness that Terry must contend with in the novel's stunning conclusion. Keneally brilliantly combines three diverse narrative techniques, and while the book is not light or easy reading, it is enormously rewarding. (March)
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